Slamdance’s Polytechnic program originated from a very simple goal: to teach others what we wish we knew before wading into this crazy industry. Each workshop focuses on empowering emerging artists who work with limited budgets.
The panels consist of Slamdance alumni, industry partners and your fellow filmmakers who are fluent in technology, DIY solutions, and armed with their unique experiences of working the system.
Our Polytechnic forum is open to everyone at the festival—no tickets or passes required— and now online too!
"The Vast of Night" had its World Premiere at Slamdance Film Festival in 2019. At the festival, it won raucous acclaim from critics while also winning the Slamdance Audience Award, and eventually signed a distribution deal with Amazon Studios. Prior to its release on Amazon Prime, we invited director Andrew Patterson back to Slamdance in January 2020 to join Slamdance co-conspirator Paul Rachman to discuss his journey in making the film and getting it out to the world.
Are you an independent film producer who's had to postpone or cancel a shoot? Do you run a production company figuring out payroll when there is no longer any income? Are you an event producer who's had to cancel events and are wondering what expenses you can recover, or what is protected by insurance?
Longtime friend of Slamdance and entertainment attorney David Albert Pierce discusses what you legally can and should do to protect yourself, your production, your company, or your employees in light of these unprecedented circumstances.
*Adapted from the live stream legal clinic held on April 9th, 2020. Watch the video here.
David Albert Pierce
David Albert Pierce is the Managing Member of Pierce Law Group LLP, a full-service boutique law firm established in 1996 in Beverly Hills, California, serving the creative community and emerging start-up companies, with a specialty in representing indie filmmakers. David’s legal practice includes entertainment law, intellectual property (copyright, trademarks, right of publicity), film finance, production counsel, and labor & employment issues with an emphasis on film, television and new media.
Many Festivals around the world offer chances to establish your presence, find representation, sell your film and set-up your next project. Amidst the competitive madness and excitement of getting in, filmmakers often miss developing a solid festival strategy that can further their creative and commercial endeavors. In this workshop our experts put together an achievable festival strategy for you, one key point at a time.
Beth Barrett (Artistic Director, Seattle Int'l FF)
Al Bailey (Head of Programming, Manchester United FF)
Thomas Mahoney (AFI) -
Clementine Leger (Film Festival Coordinator, USC School of Cinematic Arts)
Sandra Seeling Lipski (Executive Director, Evolution Mallorca Int'l FF)
Moderator: Tim Molloy (Publisher, MovieMaker Magazine)
The best marketing plan begins before production and then continues to evolve as your film moves forward. So say the experts but on a micro budget that's easier said then done. Doing something is essential. What is that something...what's realistic amidst the sheer willpower and creative labor required to complete production and finish your film? Join Slamdance's own experts in crafting a six step marketing plan based on affordable, attainable strategies that will connect you to an audience and make the most out of your film.
Alec Tibaldi (director, Spiral Farm)
Stuart Sweezey (director, Desolation Center)
Rebecca Green (“Dear Producer”, It Follows)
Jim Cummings (director, Thunder Road)
Richard Abramowitz (Abramorama)
moderator: Russell Schwartz (MediaU, Chapman University)
Get ready to go outside your comfort zone, as this panel attempts to tackle some of the toughest questions facing documentary filmmakers who want to push the limits of what is culturally acceptable. Is it possible to keep an open mind while filming with the controversial subjects? Where is the line between subject and filmmaker? What if your story doesn’t fit with the mainstream narrative? What are the f*cking rules???
Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss (director, Lovemobil)
Katja Esson (Oscar-nominated Documentarian)
Hasan Oswald (director, Higher Love)
David Pierce (Pierce Law Group)
Moderator: Cullen Hoback (director, What Lies Upstream)
Short filmmaking has been called "the laboratory of cinema" but increasingly it's more than just a place where filmmakers experiment and learn. Making a short, getting it into a festival or attracting a large online audience can get you noticed. But to what end? Is your work really a proof of concept for a larger project, a pilot for a series and can it actually make money? Let's cut to the chase and hard talk industry experts about the true value of the short film in 2020 and what you can do with yours.
Meghan Oretsky (Curator at Vimeo)
Hannah Peterson (Russo Brothers Fellowship recipient, East of the River)
Bryce Norbitz (Tribeca Film Institute)
Laura Moss & Brendan O'Brien (director and producer of Fry Day)
Moderator: Clay Pruitt (Seed&Spark)
Ask any accomplished writer and you'll hear a unique story on how they made it. There's no map to finding success but there are two factors that will help you along the way: chance and perseverance. With alumni Daniel Casey as our guide, this writing workshop will focus on the sacrifices and flexible mindset needed to navigate, survive and prosper in this wild profession.
Daniel Casey (writer, Fast & Furious 9)
Jess Zeidman (writer, Tahara)
Michael Morin (Screenwriter, Slamdance Festival Producer)